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Are you experiencing financial hardship?

Planning and advice | | 2 min read

Financial hardship


Early access update 

27 July 2020

The Federal Government has announced an extension to the early access superannuation scheme.
Eligible Australians will be able to apply for up $10,000 of their superannuation until 31 December 2020. The original cut-off date was 24 September 2020.
Additional information can be found via the government’s latest fact sheet.

Applications for early access can be made via the My.Gov website.

Accessing your super early

If you find yourself in challenging financial times, you may consider accessing your super early.

A portion of your pay for most or all of your working life has been saved and accumulates in your super. It’s to help ensure you save funds for your retirement. However, sometimes while you’re working towards that retirement, you could experience hard financial times.

That’s where you could have some options.

Early access to super (Existing rule)

Under existing super rules, there are two exceptions which enable you to draw on your super before you retire (provided you qualify) if it’s necessary to help you deal with certain situations.  

  1. Severe financial hardship

If you’ve been receiving a Centrelink income support payment for at least 6 months and you can’t meet your immediate and reasonable living expenses, you can apply for a payment of up to $10,000 from your super. You can only receive one such payment in any 12-month period. If you think you’re eligible for a severe financial hardship payment you can apply directly to your fund, but you’ll need to provide supporting evidence about your expenses and your Centrelink payments.

  1. Compassionate grounds

If you urgently need money for compassionate health reasons (e.g. for medical treatment or palliative care for you or a dependent) or to make a payment on your home loan to stop the bank foreclosing, you can apply for release of benefits on compassionate grounds. Compassionate grounds applications are made to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

For both early release conditions, it’s important to remember that the payments are subject tax.

Early access to super (Temporary and new rule in response to COVID-19)

Please refer to the update at the top of the page

The Federal Government recently introduced a new condition which gives you early access to some of your super if you have been financially affected by the coronavirus. Under this condition, you can receive a payment of up to $10,000 from your super in the current, 2019-20 financial year* and a further payment of up to $10,000 in the 2020-21 financial year*. These payments are tax-free.

*Applications for a 2019-20 payment must be made by 30 June 2020 and applications for a 2020-21 payment must be made after 30 June 2020 but no later than 25 September 2020.

You must meet at least one of the following conditions to qualify for an early access payment from your super:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance;
  • on or after 1 January 2020
    1. you were made redundant; or
    2. your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
    3. if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

The early release payment is not made automatically. To receive a payment, you must apply to the ATO through the MyGov website. The ATO is developing its system to review and approve these requests and expects to have the online application ready to go from mid-April. 

 Should I apply for early access?

The temporary condition enabling you to take some of your super now is available if you are under financial stress and may be a great help if in your individual circumstances you have no other assets or sources of income to draw on.


Before you apply for early access to your super, you should be aware that a withdrawal now could have quite an adverse impact on the amount you’ll have in your super when you retire. This will primarily be determined by your age, and the number of years you are expected to have remaining in your working life. As a result, you may not be able to enjoy the standard of living in retirement that would otherwise have been possible. In deciding whether to apply for early access, you can weigh up your needs now versus your needs in retirement.   

We recommend you seek sound financial advice before you decide to access your super early. Consider booking an appointment with one of our financial planners.

For more information, refer to the ATO website page and the Treasury fact sheet on early access to super because of the coronavirus.

Useful links

Coronavirus - early release of superannuation industry consultation (ATO)

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) – early release of superannuation (ATO)

Any figures quoted are correct at the time of writing but may be subject to change.

Authorised by Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd (ABN 64 006 964 049; AFSL 246383) ('Trustee') the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017). Catholic Super is a division of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017). Financial advice services may be provided to members by the trustee's related entity. 

Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 84 124 491 078; AFSL 455010). The information contained herein is general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. It is not intended to be, and should not be, construed in any way as investment, legal or financial advice. Please consider your personal position, objectives, and requirements before taking any action. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

© 2020 Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd. For further information please our contact our Service Centre on 1300 655 002 or visit our website: csf.com.au.

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